Jewish World Review Jan. 23, 2004 / 29 Teves, 5764
Eyebrow-raising mystery; who's punk'd anyway?; don't curb your enthusiasm; more
NEW YORK What killed Olivia Goldsmith?
The best-selling author of "The First Wives Club" was only 54 when she walked into Manhattan Eye,
Ear and Throat Hospital two weeks ago for a run-of-the-mill "neck lift."
Ever since her shocking death on Jan. 15 a week after suffering a heart attack on the operating table
and slipping into a coma the mystery has riveted the fashionable ladies who lunch from the Upper East Side
to Palm Beach.
"Everyone is wondering who the doctor was," a member of this charmed set told this column Thursday.
These wealthy women of a certain age for whom facelifts and Botox shots are as routine as a
manicure are now shying away from the scalpel. "I was thinking of having something done, but now I'm not
going to," one social doyenne confided. "It makes you worry."
In Goldsmith's case, she was scheduled for a relatively risk-free procedure to remove excess skin
under her chin. But something went wrong when she was put under anesthesia.
Now her attorney, Steven Mintz, is trying to find out what. "What I'm doing is what any thoughtful, caring
attorney would do," he said. "In due course, we will investigate and we'll take whatever steps we deem
appropriate. . . . All these things have a process, and we will follow normal process."
Reps for both Goldsmith's estate and the hospital are keeping the doctor's identity under wraps for
now. But Mintz noted that several of his late client's fictional female characters undergo plastic surgery to
change their lives or win back lost loves.
But none dies under the knife.
WHO'S PUNK'D ANYWAY?
Everything seemed friendly during Katie Couric's interview with Ashton Kutcher, who appeared on the
"Today" show Wednesday to tout his new movie "The Butterfly Effect."
But then, with a minute to go, things suddenly got very icy between the NBC News star and the
25-year-old Kutcher, host of MTV's celebrity practical-joke show, "Punk'd."
The tension started when Couric asked with a smile: "I have to ask you about Demi Moore how's that
In response, Kutcher stared back at her unhappily.
"See, this is exactly why I wanted to do the interview with Matt," he spat. "You said you weren't going to
ask about this!"
Couric's smile faded as Kutcher, waving his arms, continued bitterly, "See that's what I'm talking
about." Then he stood up and reached to remove his microphone while walking off the set.
Eyes wide, Couric pleaded: "Wait. Wait. Wait. No, no, no, no, no. I'm sorry."
Kutcher sat back down. "See, that's uncomfortable being punk'd!"
"Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha," a relieved-looking Couric said. "Ashton, Ashton!"
But it turns out that the viewers were the ones who got punk'd. Couric and Kutcher cooked up the whole
scheme beforehand. Couric told me, through a spokeswoman, "I love 'Punk'd.' I've always wanted to punk
Alas, "Today" co-host Matt Lauer wasn't even watching.
DON'T CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM: Democratic loyalist Laurie David, wife of HBO star Larry David,
has recruited an impressive array of celebs to host a Feb. 4 strategy session in New York on how to effect
regime change at the White House. Among the confirmed participants, Mrs. David told me, are Michael
Douglas, Michael Moore, Meryl Streep, Harvey Weinstein, Jann Wenner and Viacom exec Tom Freston
and they better show up, she added. "The punishment for people who don't show up is that you're never
allowed to complain again about anything this administration is doing." The event at the Ethical Culture
Society will feature former Bill Clinton aide Harold Ickes, who is trying to raise $140 million for anti-Bush
OUR FINAL TRISTA REHN ITEM?: TV Guide reports that she's apparently experiencing severe
publicity withdrawal since the hoopla over "The Bachelorette" died, leaving her to confront her life as a
Colorado housewife married to firefighter Ryan Sutter. Sources claim that Rehn, through her reps, is
pestering an unidentified network in hopes of getting her lowkey hubby a TV acting gig. "She thinks he'd
make a great actor," an insider said. TV Guide quips: "We agree: He's been doing a bang-up job these past
few months acting like his better half isn't an attention-crazed prima donna."
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11/05/03: Will Harvey Weinstein and Gregg Easterbrook now be pals?; crazed Quentin; more
11/04/03: Herding off the hipsters; more
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10/30/03: Autumn of the editor?; Cynthia Nixon's split may be costly; 'Burning' questions
10/29/03: Ah-nold, unauthorized!; a dilemma for Melissa Gilbert? not even Frank Gifford can help him now!; nobody wanted Elizabeth Hurley
10/28/03: It's Cher calling!; Brown Alert
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10/07/03: Pond scum of the rich and famous
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07/21/03: White House smear?
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© 2003, Creators Syndicate